Manchester United secured another victory in the group stages of the Champions League as they came from behind to beat Atalanta 3-2 at Old Trafford. The Red Devils were heading into the game on the back of a defeat to Leicester City away in The Premier League. Although Solskjaers’ side played well in the opening 45 minutes and won the game, things were far from going smoothly for Solskjaers’ side.
1. United fans support Solskjaer
Despite the medias attempt to increase the pressure on the manager by adding fuel to the fire, many fans stand by Solskjaer. Even though it’s early, the result against Atalanta proved to be vital. Not only to release some of the pressure off the manager but also to remain in the battle to get into the next stages of the Champions League. With recent results not being particularly great, a minority of fans are demanding for Ole to leave his job. This is because they do not see him as the best suited to bring United back to where they should be in the league. However, some fans still support him no matter the result. Ahead of kick-off you could hear the crowd in full voice singing his name as the players stepped on the pitch.
In contrast, as half-time approached so did the booing from the stands. United were 2-0 down in a game which could have seen them out of the tournament. Once the players returned back on the pitch and the second half began the supporters continued to sing on to encourage the team to put on a better performance.
2. The United players will fight for the manager.
After a devastating first half which lacked creativity from Solskjaers’ side, the team-talk given during the break must have been enough to push the players to be at the best they can be. The level of intensity which the player began to show increased and United began to create more chances. The players began to play with more desire to get a result from the game. As well as needing to win the game, it was equally as important that the manager was able to get a reaction from the players after pundits questioned Solskjaer’s management.
Furthermore, evidence showing the unity of the Manchester United team is clear on the players social media accounts. Some state; “we win or lose together” and also the managers press conference when asked about the players. In addition, this also highlights that the players care about the results and the negativity that surrounds the club. they were willing to give everything they had into that game.
Now that fans have seen what the players are capable of doing with a little pressure added on, they will be demanding the same week in, week out.
3. Poor Concentration and Leadership
Once again, the lack of concentration almost lost United the game as they conceded 2 easy goals from not knowing the positioning or role from fellow members in the squad. This can be caused by either mis-communication with one another or laziness.
Moreover, United are lacking someone with real leadership qualities. As long as United continue to doubt their own ability, it will be harder for the players to demand more from one another.
4. Defending set-pieces
United must improve their defence against set-pieces. As they found themselves conceding goals from a free-kick and a corner in the match against Atalanta. Atalanta was awarded a free-kick and had taken it quickly, releasing Zappacosta down the right, he pulled the ball across the face of the goal. Pasalic was able to tap it in from the six yard box. Next, Atalanta was awarded with another goal. Demiral gets the edge over Shaw and Maguire and managed to get his head on the ball from a corner by Koopmeiners.